While Edmonton is not as close to the Rocky Mountains as Calgary is, it’s actually a pretty good base for starting a road trip to Jasper. Situated at the northern tip of the incredible Icefields Parkway, Jasper is an exquisite mountain town with an array of outdoor activities, jaw-dropping natural attractions, and world-class restaurants. It’s less touristy than Banff, which is exactly what makes it such a special place to visit.
We’ve actually done this drive in reverse, going from Jasper to Edmonton and it’s a very straight-forward 4-hour drive. The roads are well maintained and there’s plenty of small towns along the way to find services in. It’s also home to a variety of wildlife, which means you might see deer, elk, or bears.
Edmonton to Jasper Road Trip Tips
The drive from Edmonton to Jasper is about 365kms and takes close to 4 hours without stopping. The whole drive is done via Highway AB-16. During the winter, the drive can take longer depending on conditions, as well as busy summer weekends throughout the year.
Parks Canada Pass
Jasper National Park requires a pass in order to enter. The current daily fees are:
Youth (up to 17 yo): FREE
Family/group (up to 7 people): $19.60
Commercial group (per person): $8.30
The daily passes expire at 4 pm the following day.
However, if you’re visiting Jasper National Park or any other national park or historic site across Canada for more than 6-7 days, a one-year Discovery Pass is a much better value.
Fees are as follows:
For more information, visit the Parks Canada website.
How To Get from Edmonton to Jasper
Edmonton to Jasper by Car
If you’re coming directly from the Edmonton International Airport (YEG), the drive is actually closer to 400-km but should still take 4-hours, not including stops. It’s a simple drive with many small towns along the way for you to visit and take a break. The road is fairly straight and flat until you get closer to Jasper. Whenever travelling through mountains, it’s a good idea to check road reports to see the current conditions and if there are issues along the way. Highway problems are more common in the winter months.
There are many places to rent a car at the Edmonton International Airport as well as within the city itself. Most major rental car brands are similar so we recommend doing a search on booking engines such as Expedia, Rentalcars.com, or Booking.com.
In addition to the normal rental car companies, there’s also a website called Turo, which is like Airbnb for car rentals. This may allow for some unique car rentals or possibly cheaper rates. We prefer the convenience of the major car rental companies, but Turo can be a unique method for renting a vehicle.
If you’re flying in just to visit the mountain parks, you may also want to consider flying into Calgary International Airport (YYC) and driving from Calgary to Banff and then from Banff to Jasper. This is another great way to experience both mountain towns and the world-famous Icefields Parkway. As always, road trip conditions vary greatly from season to season and if you’re visiting in the winter, you’ll want to be extra vigilant and prepared.
Edmonton to Jasper by RV
If you’re looking to have more of a “home on wheels”, consider renting an RV or campervan. RV rentals are a very popular thing to do in Canada thanks to our great size and amount of camping opportunities.
Here are some options below:
- CanaDream: This is a big RV rental company. They have everything from the little guys to the big guys.
- RVezy: This is the Airbnb of RV’s. You rent someone else’s RV.
- Wheel Estate: This is also the Airbnb of RV’s. Many options for renting someone else’s RV.
Edmonton to Jasper by Bus
If you’d rather sit back and relax and let someone else do the driving for you, taking the bus is another option for getting from Edmonton to Jasper.
SunDog Tours: This company provides a daily connector throughout the year on the following route (and vice versa): Edmonton – Edson – Hinton – Jasper. In Edmonton, the company has pick-up and drop-off at the Edmonton International Airport and West Edmonton Mall.
Cold Shot: This new bus company offers weekly service from their Cold Shot passenger terminal to Jasper via Edson and Hinton.
If you’d like to compare, we recommend using Busbud.
Edmonton to Jasper by Private Transfer
If you’re looking for a more convenient way to sit back and relax while en route to Jasper, a private transfer may be the way to go.
Some private transfer options are below:
SunDog Tours offers a direct route in various sizes of transportation depending on the size of your group. There is also an option to add in a sightseeing portion to the journey with the driver acting as a guide during the drive.
RideBooker.com has luxury sedans to luxury mini-busses and all the sizes of transportation in between to choose from depending on the size of your group.
Edmonton to Jasper by Train
If you’re looking to take the train to Jasper, then Edmonton is a great starting point. VIA Rail Canada offers this route from Edmonton to Jasper, which takes around 6.5 hours. Fares due vary throughout the year and there are also discounts for students and seniors usually. You can expect to pay around $100 or more.
Edmonton to Jasper by Rideshare
Quickly gaining in popularity, Poparide.com offers the chance to rideshare your way around Canada, including from Edmonton to Jasper. Nothing is guaranteed but there seems to fairly regular traffic between these two destinations. There are options to select your driver based on your luggage and whether or not you’re driving with skis, bikes, etc. Poparide can also be a great way to meet other travelers as they charge per seat. Expect to pay around $30.
Things to Do on Your Road Trip
The reason why we love having our own car for road trips is due to all the beautiful places you can visit along the way. If you do have that flexibility, there are some stops you can make along the way, including:
West Edmonton Mall: If you’re spending some time in Edmonton, you can’t miss a visit to massive West Edmonton Mall. Once the largest mall in the world and now the largest mall in North America, it boasts more than 800 stores, a huge waterpark, a theme park, a movie theatre, an aquarium, a skating rink, mini-golf, and so much more.
Edson Galloway Station Museum and the Giant Squirrel: If you’re looking for a spot to get out and stretch, Edson is a good option as it’s half-way. At the visitor centre, you can take a photo with the giant squirrel and then make your way to the museum where you’ll get a glimpse into the past with a mine shaft, trapper’s cabin, and much more.
Hinton: This little town is known as the “Gateway to the Rockies” and is basically when the stunning scenery will start. If you want to see that furry little creature ion the back of the Canadian nickel (the beaver), this is a great place to do it. They have a 3-km boardwalk that circles Maxwell Lake, which is actually the world’s largest freshwater boardwalk!
Miette Hot Springs: If you really want to sit back and relax, consider a stop at the hottest hot springs in the Canadian Rockies! Miette Hot Springs is only a 17-km detour on Miette Road and is only 1-hour from Jasper.
Things to Do in Jasper
Once you’ve made it to Jasper and have picked your jaw up from the floor (yes, it’s that beautiful), there are so many things to do and sights to see. For a complete guide on what to do as well as where to stay, check out our Things To Do in Jasper article. You can also pop into the Jasper Visitor Centre in downtown Jasper at 500 Connaught Dr.
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